The trucking industry has always been an important part of the U.S. business infrastructure. Whether its transporting goods to consumers or equipment to job sites, truckers are a vital component in noation's industrdial growth. Unfortunately, since a trucker's job is mostly on the road even when bad weather hits, they are significantly more likely to be involved in accidents, in some situations, even a fatal one.
Truck drivers and delivery workers have the highest number of workplace fatalities over any other occupation, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. In 2016 alone, 918 truck drivers and driver sales workers died while fulfilling their workplace duties. The numbers for the last two years are still in the reporting stage. Even though fatalities on all high-risk jobs have been steadily increasing since 2008, the number of deaths involving those in the trucking industry far exceeds the next highest occupation fatalities, farming, which saw 260 deaths in 2016.
What events are responsible for so many truck driver fatalities?
The most common cause of fatalities with truck drivers in collisions with other vehicles followed closely by roadway incidents. Over 80 percent f fatalities in the trucking industry where transportation-related incidents, rather than collisions with other vehicles on the road. But what factors lead to these accidents? One of the most common reasons that truck accidents can be more prevalent and result in more severe injuries and fatalities is the sheer size of the vehicle being operated. Trucks are significantly more difficult to maneuver through traffic, along winding and curving roads, and on ice or wet surfaces. Coupled with that is the weight of the vehicle, which can be compounded by the amount of cargo that is being carried. These factors can result in significantly more devastating injuries than most people will experience in a traditional vehicle accident. Other factors that have been found to be likely culprits behind trucker accidents include:
- Brake problems: Braking a vehicle of that size and weight can be difficult, especially when the driver needs to engage them rapidly. Unfortunately, even when used correctly, it has been found that many trucks involved in accidents have some brake issue, such as wear that leads to the stopping power being reduced.
- Fatigue: Many truck drivers feel immense pressure to deliver their cargo on time. When construction and bad weather delay their route, they may decide to continue on past their normal driving time, leading to fatigue and poor alertness.
- Tire problems: Even with a well-maintained rig, tire problems can occur, and even though trucks are equipped to handle minor issues, severe tire issues can occur due to traveling on poor roads, tire defects, and roadway hazards. When major tire issues occur, it can lead to a loss of control of the truck.
- Bad routes: Drivers may be unfamiliar with routes they are taking, or the route could pose hazards that can affect truck drivers, such as an abundance of winding roads, heavy construction, and poor road maintenance.
What do you do if you have suffered a work-related injury?
Injuries from truck accidents can be severe and result in long periods of rehabilitation, chronic long-term problems, and even death. If you have suffered an injury on the job, or your loved one was in a fatal accident while performing their truck driving duties, you should contact a workers compensation attorney, to help guide you through the process of obtaining compensation. Workers compensation insurance is likely to try to settle as quickly as possible and not always with your best interest in mind. An attorney can help you navigate the process, protect your rights, and prepare you for the best possible outcome for your case.